Just found this old email from a friend. Back in 2001, I was wondering whether I should buy a minidisc recorder, and so I asked him what the deal with them was. His reply clinched it. Here it is in it’s full glory…
Subject: What is this, twen’y questions?
Matthew, Matthew, Matthew, what am I going to do with you…
Ahem, MiniDisc (MD) is non-linear as opposed to say, an audio CD burner which doesn’t allow you to make a ‘track sandwich’….
As you can see I’m not much good at technical jargon. So, basically here are the pros and cons:
- You can record from CD digitally or in analog. In Dig it will record track marks identically to the CD.
- You can delete/move a track mark without effecting the actual tracks.
- You can delete any track, the other tracks automatically shuffle together. Eg. If you delete all the recorded tracks but the last one, it then becomes the first one.
- You can change the order of the tracks, even portions of the track, I’m a bit of a doyen in this department. If you get a machine I’ll do you a disk that’ll make you shit stools.
- Each time you press record it creates a new track. Usually you would precede this by pressing ‘end search’, to avoid erasing over previously recorded tracks.
- In/Outs may vary machine to machine. My portable recorder has Anal/Dig IN, Mic IN, Line OUT and phones OUT.
I’ve got three MiniDisc machines. One hifi component, one portable recorder/player and one portable play only. If you intend to just buy one, it’s got to be a portable recorder/player. It can be used with your hifi to Dig/Anal record your CD’s, you can edit/delete to your requirements and you can strut your funky stuff at the roller disco. Plus if you’re mic’d up you can take dictation, some are Voice Actuated.
- Recording is in Real Time, with the exception of a 2:1 I saw once. But that was part of one of those hideous microCD systems. I’m a seperates-man…
- Serial Copy Managment…If you record in Dig, the chances are you won’t be able to re-record this for a third party. You have to record Anal if want to bootleg.
- MD is a compressed format, which means that you do lose some information/fidelity. The compression system used sacrifices extreme top/bottom freqs that, in theory, are not detectable to the naked ear. However, audiophiles argue that it diminishes the ‘presence’ of the music. In my personal experience a first generation copy is rich in bass and treble and is sonically no different to the original. Second and third generation is a different story (I’ll tell you sometime). To be honest the soundstage depends on a number of factors: your amp, your speakers and your speaker cable.
Because of the above point I wouldn’t for example use MD to archive your collection of rare Django Rhienhardt 78’s. No, for that I’d use DAT, a more expensive format, but still considered more or less industry standard. That’s what I do with my early Frogs singles and Ray Barretto collection.
To sum up, if want a format to provide a soundtrack to a tube ride or sereptitiously record your group therapy sessions, MD is currently the primo format, bar none.
Sorry this is so vague, I’m useless.
He obviously has Sony stock.
Update: As a result of this, I bought, and still have somewhere, a Sony MZR700 which served me well until Mp3’s took me over.